The girl child

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In her twinkling eyes
Shines the promises of a better tomorrow

In her tiny toes
A million adventures, wait to be undertaken

In her fingertips
Countless stories and poems, yet to be written

In the curl of her little lips
A smile brighter than the sun, wait to light up the world

In her little being
Hides a million possibilities deep within

She was not meant to follow your dictates
Nor obey orders
She was meant to march together
Shoulder to shoulder, an equal, as a friend

She is neither the witch nor the goddess
She did not deserve to be burnt at the stakes
Nor desire to be put on pedestals
She did not want to be worshipped
She is just another human being
In all its totality
Bound by social norms
Yet inside of her dwells an infinity

Her brave spirit standing firmly
Undefeated and undaunted
Braving harsh injustices and apathy
Fighting generations of oppression

Conquering an eternity of subjugation
She rises above the misery
And asks for her due
Her rightful place under the sun

We must welcome her in
We must give her a fair chance

Let her bask in her moment
Let her live, let her thrive, let her shine
She is half the sky, half the humanity
Our common destiny, the girl child!

The poem is a homage to the millions of “missing” girl children in India where female foeticide and sex selective abortion continues despite legal sanctions against it. The sex ratio in India is shamefully low and among children between the ages 0-6, there are 918 girls for every 1000 boys. If for some reason she is even allowed to be born, a dark pallor surrounds the house, and instead of celebration there exists denigration. And, abuse, discrimination and hardship becomes an everyday story of her life. The situation is doubly difficult for girls living with HIV in India. Along with stigma, girl children often face economic, social and cultural marginalization, that deprive the children of their chance to grow and flourish to their fullest.
Let us pledge on the national girl child day, to end our apathy against girl children, to allow them to be born, to ensure opportunities to nourish them and enable them to write their own and our collective destinies.

The author of this post, Nandini Mazumdar is the Programme Officer of the Abhaya project at India HIV/AIDS Alliance in New Delhi

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